"Salam", to my readers and friends around the World.
When I was a child (of Norwegian, German Saxon & Bavarian origins), I grew-up in Illinois, within a Protestant Methodist, Christian household. As a family, we maintained a tradition of reciting this prayer (whenever we sat down together for meals):
"God is Good, God is Great.
And we thank Him for this food.
By His hands we all are fed.
Thank you God, for our daily bread."
The wording of that benediction parallels the (same) prayer in many languages. Indeed, once translated, the concepts conveyed by those words are components of the tenets of several World religions. I am thinking of: "God is Good", "God is Great" - in particular.
The takbīr or takbeer (تَكْبِير) is the Arabic name for the phrase Allāhu Akbar, الله أكبر. Usually translated as, "God is great" or "God is [the] greatest," it is a common Arabic expression, used as both an informal expression of faith and as a formal declaration. Note that (in the spoken language of Jesus Christ), the word for God, is "Allah".
As-Salāmu `Alaykum (السلام عليكم) is an Arabic spoken greeting used by Muslims, as well as Arab Christians and Jews.
That greeting was used today by US President, Barak Obama.
I for one, am PROUD to have this fine gentleman representing the American people abroad. His pronunciation was correct. His usage was one of respect. He did honor to his hosts, and to himself. While it is true that Obama has stated (during public speaking engagements) that his African, Muslim father was "agnostic", his father's past was deeply rooted in Islam. Mr. Obama has been wise to draw upon his intimate familiarity with customs and language.
Admittedly, I have a bias in this matter.
Three of my children are half-American. One is married to an African. They (like Mr. Obama) have parents who share two nationalities and two belief systems. Those two sets of values stem from two very different ethnic cultures and two very distinct political systems.
My daughters, their mother, and I invested the time and energy to learn and KNOW more than one language (fluently) - several, in fact.
I am doubly PROUD to have a US President whose international savvy includes a diverse knowledge of culture and language - moreover, to such a degree that he could (and did) quote passages from the Holy Koran. In addition, he was apt (and able) to greet his "hosts" (abroad), in THEIR language. BRAVO!
At last! America has a intelligent, broad-based knowledgeable, and worldly person in the White House. (Thomas Jefferson MUST be pleased ...smiling, from the hereafter.)
Mr. Obama is distinguishing himself as a class-act statesman, an intellectual, but also a man sensitized to the needs and values of grass-roots folk in this great land, and the World.
Were it that he could speak a dozen languages, or more (so as to best articulate the message of Peace and sane international dealings), that would be wonderful! The world needs competence from its leadership...
May "His will be done." Or (again), in Arabic language, Inch'Allah (arabeg: إن شاء الله in šaʾ Allāh), "As God would will it".
What an irony, that some Americans make ridicule of cultures (about which) a sad majority know little to nothing - too often by, misquoting, mispronouncing, misrepresenting, stereotyping, and misunderstanding the peoples for whom they formulate mindless slurs. (I am most impressed by their stupidity, not by their ignorance.)
Too many Americans have remained intellectually lazy - all those who have remained ignorant of the great diversity and profound interest of this vast, wide world. Those who seem to value their personal status quo far more, than knowledge.
As-Salāmu `Alaykum (السلام عليكم) Mr. President!
The term "Salam" in Arabic means "Peace".
Me Thinks (do you?)
P.S. The salutation, "Salam" is used throughout the world (by approximately, 1.7 billion Muslims) to greet each other daily. It is the greeting which is truly the most universal of greetings used by Mankind.
P.P.S. Today, I choose to describe myself as: Spiritual, not Religious - I seek to practice a "religion" of mutual respect.